Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Girl in the Flammable Skirt by Aimee Bender

The description of this collection of short stories sounded so interesting.  But the stories were more weird than interesting.  And I usually like weird, but this wasn't a cool weird but rather a, "WTF, that doesn't make any sense," sort of weird.  There was rarely any sort of explanation or background given to provide any substance for the bizarreness of the stories.

The stories were like, "One day my boyfriend started to go through a reverse evolution.  He became an ape, then a fish, then a tadpole, so put him in the ocean."  The end.  Really?  The stories are for the most part delivered with that much emotion and detail. 

I never felt any sort of connection or concern for the characters involved in these stories.

And yet, I kept reading them, so I must not have thought they were completely terrible.  I suspect I was in some way drawn to the bizarreness.  At one point, about a third of the way through the book, I decided I wasn't going to finish reading it, I had too many other books to read to waste my time on this nonsense.  But I couldn't stop reading the stories.  Maybe I was just hoping that something more would happen.  Maybe my curiosity got the better of me.  A few of the longer stories had potential, but they felt more like introductions or outlines for what could have been better stories.

The more I read short stories the more I realize I don't like them much.  I need to know more about the characters.  If I'm going to invest my time in reading about these people, I need to get a better feeling as to who they are.  Short stories don't provide the kind of connection I need with what I read.

I really didn't like this book very much.  Part of me gets annoyed when I read stuff like this because I don't quite understand why something like this gets published.  Maybe I'm not smart enough to get it.  But the weirdness too often tipped into the "silly" category.  I kind of wish I'd never picked this book up.

finished reading: Dec. 17, 2011

No comments: